Happy NaNoWriMo (+48 Months)

Happy NaNoWriMo! I started this little book of mine for NaNoWriMo two years ago. I’m hoping to finish this first draft before the end of the month. Then I would consider myself a NaNoWriMo winner.

Heroes is going to air a set of episodes that feature an outbreak of a serious contagion. I know it’s very different than my story, still, I would rather my idea not appear a copycat.

Wanted to try something new: here’s a snippet from the book I rediscovered this evening while working on my story (I’m already behind my NaNoWriMo+48 months on the first night). This bit features Tim Tooley, Calvin’s younger and much thirstier brother. Remember this is from a first draft. I will want to edit it immediately after posting. Comment gently. (OK, chop it up if you want.)

Tim Tooley woke in a fog. His eyes fluttered open, and he squinted against the morning glare. He snuffed and cleared his throat, running his tongue over his teeth, feeling coarse wool on the yellowed enamel. He was lying on his back, he recognized the rafters overhead, whitewashed and cobwebbed. Not once in his career as a drinker did Tim Tooley wake up with a hangover. He joked with his buddies the freedom from hangovers was God’s way of telling him to drink.

In the faint, early morning light, Tim lay on the mound of straw, closed his eyes, and slowly drifted off to sleep. It would be another couple of hours before Calvin was up and nagging him about the booze, or the feed, or his drinking friends sleeping it off around the yard. He wanted to enjoy the quiet before Calvin’s fire started burning. It was really peaceful in the barn this morning. Quiet. Motionless.

Tim’s eyes popped open. He listened for the familiar shuffling of the cows in the stalls, the impatient chuffs and snorts of the livestock waiting to be fed. He was met with silence.

More curious than alarmed, Tim rolled to his side and pushed up on his elbow. He was in the corral, the cow corral. He shook his head, annoyed. He hated passing out in the corral. Aside from the danger of a hoof to the head as he slept; it meant his coat and coveralls would be caked with manure and the other hands would snicker and ask how his big date went.

The gate was closed. Tim sighed in relief; at least he hadn’t let the cow out to wander around the yard. Pushing off his elbow, Tim sat with his knees bent, shifted his weight onto his extended right arm and looked over his shoulder. Then he pissed himself as he scrambled away from the sight.

The cow was facing him; eye’s bulging from their sockets, grey and lifeless. Pink foam in his nostrils and on his muzzle had pooled in the straw. The cow’s tongue was black and so swollen it forced the animal’s mouth open. The turgid tip of the tongue sat in a wash of vomit.

Tim pushed his back against the barn wall and stood up. His gaze was locked on the animal’s grotesque death mask. The silence of the barn descended around him. He strained to hear the slightest sound. The quiet turned Tim’s stomach, anxiety pushing bile up the back of his throat. Lifting the stall gate latch, he scurried through to the barn’s center isle. Stalls ran down both sides of the isle. They were all dead, every cow, sheep, goat.

Tim strained to hear noise from the neighboring chicken coop. The silence was maddening. Tim sprinted to the house, screaming like a madman. Calvin was going to have to tell him what to do.


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